In a city known for its great drummers, another young percussionist, University of New Orleans graduate student Jamison Ross has just won the prestigious first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition. The award was made on Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Ross, 24, has been a graduate student in the University of New Orleans Jazz Studies program since fall of 2011. He juggles his academic schedule to tour with jazz singer Carmen Lundy and he also works regularly with sax player Wess Anderson.
Master guitarist Steve Masakowski, current head of the University of New Orleans Jazz Studies Program, sings Ross’s praises: “We’re so proud of Jamison. He’s an outstanding drummer and an outstanding person. His great spirit has been a real inspiration for both the other students and our faculty.”
Ross is a native of Jacksonville, FL and he performed with saxophonist Jon Gordon, pianist Geoffrey Keezer and bassist Rodney Whitaker.
The year’s other two winners were Justin Brown (second place) and Colin Stranahan (third place). Both are active in the New York jazz scene. The judges for the event represented several generations of elite jazz drummers: Jimmy Cobb, Ben Riley, Peter Erskine, Carl Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Brian Blade.
Ross will receive a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Music Group.